Tag Archives: Aitana Mountains

January 9, 2017 Trekking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

My 10 Rules of Adventure Travel

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By Michael Lanza

I remember well my first big “adventure.” Two buddies and I, all 19, biked from our hometown in central Massachusetts to the summit of Mount Greylock—the highest peak in the state. It took us four days to ride there and home again. We had cheap 10-speeds, bulky, old sleeping bags, no tent but two big plastic sheets to lay on the ground beneath us and over us if it rained—which it did the first night—and hardly a clue about what we were doing.

Although it was not evenly remotely exotic, in our minds, it was an epic adventure, and it helped kindle in us a fire for more experiences that would give us that buzz again—that feeling of being entirely on our own and not knowing what’s going to happen next, but whatever lay ahead, we were excited to leap into it. Continue reading →

November 28, 2016 Hiking Blahnukur, in Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

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By Michael Lanza

“Change your life.” That’s a tall order, isn’t it? I mean, how many experiences have that magnitude of impact on you? I can think of several that overhauled my perspective on life, or at the least, expanded how I view the world and other people.

Looking at the highest mountains on the planet and walking through villages in Nepal where people live much as their ancestors have for centuries. Seeing the surreal landscapes of Iceland (photo above) and Patagonia. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut-to-hut treks through the vertiginous Swiss Alps. Paddling a kayak below jungle-clad cliffs rising 4,000 feet straight out of the sea in New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound, and hiking what’s reputedly the hardest hut trek in that adventure-addicted country, the Dusky Track. And seeing unforgettable mountain ranges like the Scottish Highlands, Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and Italy’s Dolomites, and seals, brown bears, and sea lions in Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids. Continue reading →

May 9, 2016 Hiking over Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park.

My 25 Most Scenic Days of Hiking Ever

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By Michael Lanza

You’ve had days like this. Maybe it was a dayhike, or a single, exceptional day on a backpacking trip or hut trek—one so gorgeous and inspirational that it forges a lasting memory as one of the best experiences you’ve ever had in the backcountry. From iconic national parks like Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Glacier to some of the world’s great treks, like the Alta Via 2 in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park, and Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail, here’s a list of the 25 hands-down prettiest single days I’ve ever spent walking dirt and rock footpaths. I think many of these places would make your top list, too. Continue reading →

March 20, 2014 Castle ruins, Aitana Mountains, Spain.

Photo Gallery: Trekking Europe’s Best-Kept Secret, Spain’s Aitana Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

By day, you hike across a chronically sunny range of mountains of endless limestone cliffs, past ruins of castles built by Moors centuries ago, looking down on bleached terracotta villages dotting the valley bottom. Every evening, in one of those villages, you feast in good Old World style on Spanish delicacies like stuffed aubergines, paella, and olleta de blat, washing it down with excellent Spanish vino. That, in a nutshell, describes the 60-mile, village-to-village trek I took across the most stunning European mountains you’ve never heard of (they don’t even have an official name), in the Valencia region on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Continue reading →

June 7, 2010

Conquistadors of Adventure: Discovering Multi-Sport Gold in Spain’s Valencia region

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By Michael Lanza

I’m standing on a rocky ridgetop amid the crumbling ruins of a castle built by Moors during their seven-century rule over most of Spain. It looks like a good spot to dig in. Beyond these broken walls, the ground plunges hundreds of feet over cliffs and mostly treeless, double-black-diamond slopes of thorny desert scrub. Today, though, there’ll be no rain of arrows from attacking marauders—only me and my guide, José Miguel Garcia, hiking through a sea of craggy limestone mountains. Some 3,000 feet below us, bleached terracotta villages dotting the valley bottom hold out the promise of a post-hike feast of tapas and local wine. Continue reading →